Brassy to Classy: My Free Chandelier

September 14, 2010

I was tra la la-ing my way through my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore a few weeks back, admiring all the great salvage and scheming of ways to put some of it to good use.  I was there because I had spotted a few cool cabinets on Diggers List and wanted to investigate further. 

As I chatted it up with one of the managers, I couldn’t help but notice the sign just behind him.  free brass lighting

Do you love the exclamation point for added emphasis?  Like rejected brass light fixtures are something to get excited about?  Well actually, I kinda do get excited about them.  A lot. 

I actually like antique  brass fixtures, just not these super shiny leftovers from the early 90s.  So with a fixture like this, one that just happens to have a completely fantastic shape, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be spray painted.  White.  Pronto! 

  brass chandy before

 

Hello gorgeous.  Don’t you just fit right in ? 

kitchen chandy after

Aaaaaand, she was free.  Fah-reeee. 

Yep.  Free.

I was over the etched glass chandy that was previously hanging in our kitchen.  I had picked it out at a Home Depot many years ago and I’ve never been totally thrilled with it.  I wanted something “Frenchier” looking.   For awhile I was trying to figure out how to convert its standard sockets into candle fixtures, but just couldn’t find anything to make the conversion. 

old then new chandy

I was wanting a new chandelier, but I couldn’t find one online that I was in love with that would make it worth dropping some serious cash.  Months dragged on.   I’m a lover of all things that look like they came from a French flea market, or could be found in a Ballard Designs catalog, so when I spied the ten arm brass chandy among the wreckage at my local ReStore, I couldn’t help but squeal, especially since it was free.

Did I mention it was free? 

The teensy problem?  It needed some rewiring.  Not every arm thankfully, just the interior portion.  Enter True Value electrical supply aisle! 

true value supplies

 

I am pretty proud of myself that I figured out how to rewire this piece all on my own without any help ~ it was definitely a new discovery for me.  I’ve rewired a lamp before, but never a chandelier, however the logic is the same.  Whites to whites, blacks to blacks, yada yada. 

You can find a detailed tutorial about rewiring a chandelier here, and for the step-by-step on installing a chandy, hop on over to This Old House.  As for me, let’s just say I spent a solid hour teaching myself how to rewire this puppy ~ here’s a few action shots. 

rewiring chandelier

After it was all rewired, I was patting myself on the back.  But then something dreadful happened.  One of the arms broke off.  Dangit!   So frustrating!   I couldn’t get the arm to screw back into its holder, it was completely stripped.  Gah!   After all that work, I almost gave up on this, seriously. 

But then I decided to give it one more try with some plastic steel epoxy designed for metal, also found at True Value. 

epoxy

It worked ! 

The last step was painting the chandy, so I bought Rustoleum’s ‘Shell White’, a close kin to ‘Heirloom White’, at True Value.  I also gave the chandy a bit of faux distressing.  With the side of an artist’s brush, not the tip, I rubbed some oil rubbed bronze spray paint onto the limbs here and there. 

add distressing

  

Voila.  A perfectly lovely Ballard-esque look.  

chandy arm up close

And to think she once was shiny brass. 

 

Simple.  Elegant.  Love it !

white kitchen chandelier

  

The fixture actually works too, which made me squeal with delight when I flipped the switch !

  cg new kitchen chandelier

 

Here’s some really cool news.  My old chandy with the etched glass shades?  It’s already sold!   A reader wanted it, so it will be sent to a new home next week.  Yay!

The new fixture complements the style of our kitchen a bit better, and I think it was a worthwhile rescue of a shiny brass chandelier.  Don’t you ?      

 

The necessary legalese:  “I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience.  I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project.   However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”

 

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141 Responses to “Brassy to Classy: My Free Chandelier”

  1. Krista says:

    I have a brass floor lamp that I need to paint. Did you do anything to the chandelier before painting it? Just pull out the spray paint and go?

  2. Awesome job! I can’t believe you were able to score that for free! What luck!

  3. Lovely B. says:

    Hi Kate – Once again, a gorgeous DIY project! After seeing the many items you’ve transformed using white spray paint, I decided to give my bronzy/brown little owl a makeover. Feel free to check out my blog for the before and afters.

    http://22lovelyb.blogspot.com/2010/09/white-spray-paint-i-love-you.html

    Love your blog, sense of style and DIY tutorials. Thanks for continuing to inspire me one project at a time :)

    Take Care,
    LB

  4. Janell Beals says:

    It looks great, impressed you rewired it yourself, so far I’ve taken those jobs to a lampshade in town! And ReStore, what a great resource, that also does good! Janell

  5. Dang, that looks good. I like Krista’s comment about her brass floor lamp… I have a yucky brass floor lamp too, and maybe it will look totally different if I spray painted it. Hmmm…

  6. SJN says:

    I too am wondering if there’s any prep work, and also if spray paint is okay for a lighting fixture, as in flammable???
    I have 2 very brassy fixtures, dining room and foyer, that I will soon need to replace or paint. We are changing out our white balusters for iron ORB ones and after that the brass will certainly clash!

  7. I love what you did here. It was so easy and turned out like a beautiful custom piece. Thanks so much for sharing. I recently did my first painting project. I have a blog to but not very many followers. Do you have any tips to get people to visit a blog?

    Thanks!!

  8. So glad I found this post! I have a shiny brass chandi hanging in my dining room that I want to paint. My doubting hubby can’t picture the results…now thanks to your post I can show him what it will look like…Woohoo! I just completed a huge style makeover in that room and this is exactly the look my lighting needs. Thanks again.

    Janet xox

  9. It looks amazing.
    What a little of white paint can do:)
    The chandelier fits perfectly in to your kitchen.
    Lovely greetings…

  10. Yuppie Lady says:

    Great job…luv the way the fixture turned out. Gotta luv the Restore!

    I’m posting a DIY light fixture on my blog later this week.

  11. CJ says:

    Love that you not only took something destined for the trash and saved it, but you upcycled your old item, too! Looks wonderful.

  12. Jenoside says:

    I have that same exact chandelier in my dining room and I’ve been wanting to paint it. Glad to know it will look decent if I do so.

  13. Julie says:

    You never cease to amaze me. I want to be your neighbor so I can tag along on your adventures and maybe even score some finds of my own!

  14. hilary says:

    that looks amazing!

  15. I love it! Great job!! And I loooooove Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. It seriously makes me so happy!! The small things in life :)

    xo- M

  16. Shelia says:

    Oh, how pretty and I love it in your kitchen! Now I have a giant chandy just like yours that hangs in our entry way and guess what? It’s brass! I could never paint it. Well, for one thing I could never take it down – it’s way up there! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  17. Wow, this is awesome. I guess I need to stop into my ReStore more often. I just discovered it about a month ago so I’ve only been there once!

  18. Mary says:

    LOVE IT! Feeling very inspired to pull the brass lamps out of my garage sale pile and give them a facelift!

  19. Kyra says:

    Wow – that came out so nice! What a change!! I too wonder if there is any prep work (ie – sanding, priming) before you spray paint.

  20. suzanne says:

    Oh, I have several unclassy brassies I need to give a facelift, too! I am shockingly impressed!! :D
    What a great job you did and it looks fantastic in your space!! Woohoo and FREE!!!

    Suzanne

  21. Patti says:

    Wow…..You just inspired me soooo much!!! I have a few unclassy brassies!!!!

  22. Kristin says:

    This is so pretty! That is so nice that they gave it to you for free, so nice of them! I have a antique one that my girlfriend gave to me. I just have to give it a much needed facelift, on my list!
    Enjoy your day :)

  23. That’s beautiful! I’m green with envy!

  24. Alicia says:

    Georgeous work! Beautiful! And it looks great in your kitchen! Congratulations!

  25. Wow. wow wow wow wow wooooow! Amazing transformation! Love it – so much! :) Great job!!

  26. It looks like it was made for that space. Beautiful job, well done.

  27. Ellie says:

    Great job! I’m impressed – it looks so much better in your kitchen!

  28. That looks great! And you can’t beat free.

  29. I did one very similar to that – such a great transformation eh?

    I used different bulbs which can give it a more modern look if you ever want to switch it up!

    http://lifebeginsatthirtyright.blogspot.com/2010/08/dressing-room-lamp-re-vamp.html

  30. Nadir@Stitchsensedesigns says:

    Oh wow, it’s soooo gorgeous! I tried convincing my sister to keep a brass chandelier she had at a house she just bought & spray painting it the color she wanted but she has very modern taste & isn’t crazy about chandys anyway. I might just have to take it off her hands for when I buy a house. :-)

  31. I love when those ghastly old chandies are saved and transformed! Yours looks fantastic, and I especially like that you rewired that thing all by yourself!

  32. Sheesh! Sweet freebie. I love that you have the patience to paint that. It looks fabulous, beautiful kitchen.

  33. The new chandelier looks great! I’m looking for a cheap brass light to repurpose, too. I recently did a post on how to update brass. It works really well and is quick.

    http://ourhumbleabowed.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/how-to-update-brass/

  34. Sara says:

    It is really amazing what you can accomplish with spray paint!!

    xo,
    Sara

  35. Amber says:

    Hi,

    I have the exact chandelier hanging in my dining room right now and I cannot wait to do the same thing to mine!

    Did you rough up the brass and prime it before painting?

    Thank you!

    Amber

  36. Tanya says:

    It’s beautiful! Do you use a heat-resistant (spray?) paint? I worry a lot about flammability.

  37. Amazing makeover.I’m SOOOOOOO impressed! Let alone at the fact that you reqwired it yourself. Seriously. In. Awe!!

  38. Jen says:

    Gorgeous! And free? Can’t beat that.

    I’m on the hunt for cheap/DIY chandeliers for the bedrooms in my house. Off to the ReStore I go!

  39. Tia says:

    Wow!!!! What an amazing transformation!! I love it. Gosh you’re so creative. The chandelier is so simple yet adds so much to the room. :)

  40. Looks amazing! The distressing gives it so much life too. I’m so super impressed that your rewired it?!?! My DIY has not developed into the ‘repair’ stage…unless it only requires glue.

    I painted my mullet-sporting-chandy awhile back…you might like how I made the ‘sleeves’

    http://hisugarplum.blogspot.com/2010/05/80s-called-they-want-their-brass-back.html

    xoxo, cassie

  41. Sara says:

    hahaha! I have the SAME chandy in my dining room with one more tier of lights. I spray painted mine black and rubbed on some bronze craft paint 6 years ago when we moved in. (All those Trading Spaces episodes I watched paid off!) Love yours white (of course!). Maybe when I get around to lightening up the space, I’ll have to redo it!

  42. I love the look! So great! And I’m impressed with the do it yourself re-wiring:)

  43. Lourdes says:

    I love redecorating on a budget! It’s fun and it keeps your creativity flowing! I just reaccesorized the living room in under $4 thanks to old accesories and spray paint!

  44. Mike @HA says:

    Thanks! We have a nasty bronze chandelier that came with our dining room. We talked about buying a new one but I had just been thinking about finding a way to paint it! Thanks for the tips!!

  45. Julie says:

    Good for you! I’m on the hunt for one just like this to paint for the playroom. Yours looks great!

  46. It looks great!! I’m on the lookout for a chanderlier to makeover too… you can’t beat FREE, that’s amazing. And way to go on the rewiring, I’ve had to do a little bit of that in my house and it always is such a great feeling of accomplishment when the light turns ON!!! Angelic choirs singing and stuff like that.

  47. This is stunning and I agree , the best part it was free :-) Lovely makeover.

  48. CentsationalGirl says:

    Krista & SJN ~ Rustoleum’s indoor/outdoor spray paints are designed for use on metal. With brass, I’ve never used a primer, I just go straight to the oil based spray paint. However, with wood or laminate surfaces, I pretty much always use a primer.
    Kate

  49. CentsationalGirl says:

    Tanya ~ I don’t see any need for heat resistant paint since all the electrical currents are safely housed in the plastic coated wires. Even touching the chandy after it’s been on for a few hours, there is no heat coming from the metal.
    Kate

  50. SueMueller says:

    After finding your blog two months ago, I have finally mastered spray painting, thanks to you. Your ideas are awesome, and now I go “hunting & gathering” for things to renew, reuse, and refresh. I am even ready to tackle my huge kitchen table, turinging it into a gorgeous black one, sans Ballard Designs, to match my new dining room chairs.

  51. Sara says:

    Just like several other commenters, I have that same chancy in my dining room and I’m sick of it! And the giant version in the foyer. I think a coat of white paint might help me live with it/them a while longer—-although I can’t imagine getting the foyer one down and painted!

  52. Love it! Well done transformation!

  53. tina says:

    standing ovation!! For it all! The find. The persistence. The patience. The can-do spiri. The finished product. Fantastic!!

  54. La says:

    GORGEOUS and the perfect price! Enjoy! La

  55. Wow – doesn’t get much better than that! Looks amazing and nice work!

  56. Richella says:

    There you go! What a wonderful transformation! Pat yourself on the back a few more times, girl!

  57. Becky says:

    I scored the exact same chandelier for free from a craigslist find, only with one smaller matching one that we revamped and put into our kitchen remodel. I have gotten so many compliments from those chandeliers. We painted ours black, and I love the contrast to our white cabinets and grey marble.

  58. Love it! We have a new Restore here in Atlanta…need to get there this week!!

  59. I love your antiquing technique!

    Note to self: Must visit local ReStore!

  60. Sandra K says:

    Hi Kate – quick question – did you spray paint the “chain” that extends from the fixture to the ceiling or did you buy a new one? I need to spray paint a brassy light fixture and the chain is the one thing holding me back!

  61. L.Duncan says:

    GET OUT!!! OMG, Kate! Yeah I would have been excited too! I want one. don’t know where to put it, but I want one!

    So, I hear that we are going to be shacking up in NY! Can’t wait to meet you!

  62. Brandi says:

    Wow! This is so beautiful! I love to paint things “new” again. I think I’ll be looking for some old brassy light fixtures now! Thanks for the inspiration!

  63. Sara says:

    And can I just say how much i hate the new spell-checkers that think you’re wrong all the time? They change your words and make you look stoopid! I meant “chandy” in that last comment!

  64. Holly says:

    Who knew a brass chandelier could look so amazing? I’m thoroughly impressed. And hooray for Habitat for Humanity!

  65. Juice says:

    Love it! You are so good at seeing the potential in things. And congrats on your electrical skillz!

  66. It’s amazing. Congrats on figuring it out on your own!

  67. Bravo! Love it!!!! Inspired…

  68. Antiquechase says:

    I had to look and see where you lived cause I had that same chandy in my last house… brass and all… Wow, what a difference. AMAZING!!

  69. Fabulousness!!!! You have totally inspired me to look for something similar for my own kitchen. I’m a bit stumped b/c we have several fixtures in there that need replacing, but I’m not sure exactly how to get them all to coordinate….

  70. Jess says:

    I am SO impressed and inspired! This looks like a gorgeous (not to mention pricey) PB chandelier. I can’t believe you got it for free and turned it into this beauty for minimal mula. Awesome job!!

  71. Nichole says:

    Hooray for your score & it looks AH-Mazing!!!! :)

  72. Lori says:

    Wow, what a transformation. It looks beautiful in your kitchen.

  73. Irene says:

    I love it! You did a wonderful job. I am so excited to do these types of redo’s.

  74. Courtney says:

    I am in LOVE!!!!!!!!!! WOW! I am just putting finishing touches on a kitchen facelift . . have been going back and forth on the chandy color (it’s brushed nickel right now and it does NOTHING for the space). You are genious. White paint here I come! If you were to put little drum shades on it, would you recommend super pale/white or a pop of color??? thoughs

  75. Jenn says:

    I swear, you can do anything? Re-wiring a fixture? Geez…you are amazing! It looks great and I love your kitchen!!!!

  76. Emily P. says:

    Beautiful! I have a very similar black chandelier that came with my house…now I’m thinking it might just have to turn white…

  77. Katie Davis says:

    This is so totally cute and I am shocked it used to be brass…this is giving me all sorts of ideas of transformations some old brass items in our house could make!

  78. Allison says:

    What a find that was! You did a beautiful job and I’m impressed that you can do the re-wiring. I wouldn’t know how to even begin. It’s a gorgeous transformation. I have been looking for a chandelier for awhile but the ones I find are so pricey. I will keep this in mind if I see a brass one.

  79. Pam Fitz says:

    Wow! You’ve convinced me to make the long haul to my local restore! I love the new chandy- I’ve seen tons of brass to ORB makeovers, but I really love the white!

  80. Ray* says:

    OMG Kate. I just bought a brass chandelier just like yours yesterday at a Thrift Store I passed on my way home from work. I paid $25 for it – and I thought I got a deal! My plan is to also paint it white but I think I’ll put it in my office. Seeing your light makes me that much more excited!!!

    It looks fabulous!!!

  81. It is wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I’m looking for one now too.

  82. Sarah says:

    I absolutely LOVE it! I have been wanting to spray paint a few metallic fixtures around here and you have given me hope! Thank you!
    Sarah

  83. Sue says:

    I am just amazed at the things I’ve learned can be painted. I sort of wish I had all those brass lamps and things back from years of garage sales! It looks fabulous!

  84. Karen says:

    That truly looks great! Good job and I love the fact that you share the info on “how-to” with those of us who have never rewired a lamp, let alone hung a chandelier.

    Karen

  85. michaela says:

    SO beautiful! I love this. The white is so much more modern and chic!

  86. Aubrey says:

    I *love* the chandy, it turned out so great…and to think, it was that ugly brass thing before! (c: Bravo! Thanks for the great tips, you are always inspirational!

  87. Traci says:

    Thanks looks fantastic! What a deal. Good job, Kate!

  88. traci says:

    what a great find!!

  89. CentsationalGirl says:

    Sandra K ~ I always spray paint the chain. The one concern when going from brass to white/black or bronze to white, etc is typically the wire is the same color as the original chandy. I knew I was painting mine white, so I chose white electrical wires. You can always stitch up a cord cover like I did here:

    http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2010/05/laundry-room-project-breakdown/

    Ray ~ $25 bucks is still a score !!!

    Kate

  90. Amy says:

    Wow! That is amazing! I just got rid of one very similar…darn! I could have turned it into a gem! You are brilliant. Love your blog by the way!

  91. Whitney R. says:

    So exciting! I actually scored a free brass chandy myself from one of my mom’s good friends-yay! Fah-ree is the best! After I spray her white I am hanging it in my little girls room!
    Thanks for all of the info! Love it!

  92. Wow! It’s beautiful! And I love that it was freeeeeeeeeee!

  93. Look at that! It’s gorgeous in your kitchen and what a price :-)

    Headed to NY next week? Would love to meet up if so.

    xo,
    cristin

  94. Emily says:

    Wow, that looks incredible! It’s like it was made for your kitchen. Such a great find!

  95. And I thought the ugly brass chandelier I picked up and spray painted black was a good deal….but free is amazing! It turned out beautifully!

  96. This looks so great! And I love the beautiful white kitchen.

    Warmly, Michelle

  97. Mary Jo says:

    Oh.my.goodness! We are closing on a house on Monday that has 2 of the EXACT same brassy chandeliers! I was ready to list them on Craig’s List and put up some “pretty” lighting, but I LOVE IT PAINTED WHITE!!! Do you mind sharing what color you painted it??

  98. Amber says:

    Gorgeous! You can’t beat free either.

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